Instructors and Staff


Gaylean Smoak, R.N. , Instructor

Gaylen Smoak graduated from Radford University with a BS in Nursing in 1984. Her nursing career has taken her from a very small community hospital to university teaching and most recently to the US Air Force with a Forward Surgical Team deployment. Her experience is very broad – ICU,  MedSurg, Surgical and management. It is our good fortune that the latest chapter in her professional career is working for Career Nursing Academy as a Clinical Instructor


Sheila Mathis, R.N., C.N.M. started her career in healthcare in 1990 and has worked in various settings including long term care, home care, public health, nursing education and maternal child health as a Home Health Aide, LPN and RN. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson University with an MSN in 2000. She enjoys interacting with students and inspiring them to achieve their goals.


Nancy Fertig brings to the Career Nursing Academy years of experience as a Hospice Nurse. She began her nursing career as a nurse aide, progressed to licensed practical nurse, and continued her education to become a Registered Nurse. Her personal and professional development inspires students.



Maria Grant-Thomas is our newest clinical instructor. A graduate of Germanna Community College, Maria comes to us with years of LPN experience prior to becoming an R.N. 



Mitzi Dabreo

Mitzi Dabreo is an Instructional Assistant who monitors skills and classroom activities. She has more than 10 years of experience as a Personal Care Aide and more than 6 years experience as a Certified Nurse Aide. She has worked in Long Term Care facilities, Assisted Living Facilities and in Home Health.



Pauline Estrada, C.N.A. is a lab assistant. She comes to us after more than 10 years of experience as a tech in a vein surgical center. Pauline is a graduate of the Career Nursing Academy and has extensive experience as a hospice C.N.A. 




Wendy Wynn, C.N.A., recently joined the Career Nursing Academy lab assistants. She will review and evaluate skills and will become a familiar face in all of the upcoming courses




Easter Bowman, C.N.A., has been a lab assistant at The Career Nursing Academy for several years. Plus she has plentiful experience as a early childhood educator and caregiver.